The 13th Continuum
by Jennifer Brody
Publisher: Turner Publishing
Release Date: April 19th 2016
by Jennifer Brody
Publisher: Turner Publishing
Release Date: April 19th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
One thousand years after a cataclysmic event leaves humanity on the brink of extinction, the survivors take refuge in continuums designed to sustain the human race until repopulation of Earth becomes possible. Against this backdrop, a group of young friends in the underwater Thirteenth Continuum dream about life outside their totalitarian existence, an idea that has been outlawed for centuries. When a shocking discovery turns the dream into a reality, they must decide if they will risk their own extinction to experience something no one has for generations, the Surface.
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
The tiniest seed of the idea came while I was watching TV news footage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Like most people, I was horrified by the environmental devastation. As I watched the thick, black sludge slowly spreading over the surface of the ocean like a malevolent tide and suffocating all sorts of fish and animal life, I had this thought—what if you couldn’t live on the surface of the Earth anymore because it was toxic? What if you had to live really deep in the ocean to survive? I’ve always been fascinated by the deep-sea environment, which we know less about than the surface of Mars (another seed of an idea). I walked around with these barebones ideas rattling around in my head. Then I was hiking in the Hollywood Hills with my dog, and the big idea just hit me all at once. What if a professor at Harvard (where I went to college) could foresee the coming destruction and devised a plan to save people in colonies? Not only they be located in the ocean trenches, but also deep underground and in outer space, including a Mars colony, because nobody knew which environment was best suited for long-term human survival. That was when I knew I had to write it.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
Aside from the main characters Myra and Aero, my favorite character is Tinker, Myra’s little brother. He lives in the Thirteenth Continuum, the underwater colony. He’s small for his age and fascinated by how machines work. Actually, Tinker isn’t his real name. It’s a nickname he got because he was always “tinkering” with everything. He built his own computer from scratch out of spare parts and it’s a rarity in their world, since their deep-sea colony has fallen into a dark age. Under the influence of a religious contingent, they destroyed all their submarines and lost much of their technology. Myra cares about him fiercely. But the main reason that he’s fun to write is because he doesn’t think like everyone else. He processes the world a little differently. Anytime a character has a different perspective on the world, they’re super fun to write.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
In this case, the novel came first! The book had such an epic scope that I wasn’t sure what to call it. I was toying around with the names for the layers of the ocean (The Midnight Zone), but that didn’t feel right. That became the name of a chapter. Then later on, I was talking to book agents and pitching my idea for the book, and one of those agents suggested the title The 13th Continuum after hearing my pitch. Interestingly, I didn’t end up signing with that agent, but the title stuck and it’s perfect.
4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Without giving away spoilers, I’m most proud of the parts of the book that concern the Beacons. Each colony is given a Beacon and assigned a Carrier who bonds with the device. Their purpose is preserve their history and lead them back to the Surface after the period of exile has elapsed. When a new Carrier bonds with the device, they download the memories of the prior Carriers. It’s a physically taxing and mentally challenging experience. The scenes where this happens are my favorite in the book.
5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I learned that writing multiple POVs (the point of view of more than one character) is super fun—but also super challenging! It’s kind of like writing three books at once. This was also my first time writing speculative fiction. I learned that it’s my favorite genre to write. I love building new worlds and using imagination to envision alternate futures for our world. I also love using historical allegories in my work and ended up doing a lot of research on the Dark Ages and Sparta and many other things.
6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Can I say—everything?
Visual design isn’t really my strong suit, but as soon as I saw the cover, I knew I loved it. The imagery is bold and beautiful and mysterious and eye-catching. The cover really stands out and doesn’t look like anything else in the market. It evokes classic science fiction titles like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea yet has a modern flare. The blue patches relate to the ocean imagery of the book, while the texture in the background of the orange part are actually submarine blueprints, which figure into the plot of the story. Going forward, each book cover of the trilogy will feature a different environment (hint: the next book cover is Earth-themed, while the third will be Space).
7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2016?
I’m super excited to read Justin Cronin’s The City of Mirrors. It’s the third book in his Passage Trilogy and I love getting the final book in a series. I’m also excited for Robin Talley’s forthcoming book As I Descended (Dec. 6 from Harper Teen).
8. What was your favorite book in 2015?
The Martian by Andy Weir. I loved the voice and sense of humor in the writing, and also his grounded approached to speculative fiction. I thought the film was great, too! I also loved A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and can’t wait to read the next book in the series that just came out (A Gathering of Shadows).
9. What’s up next for you?
I’m writing the third book in the Continuum Trilogy—The United Continuums. I’ve got some very exciting stuff planned for the series! I’ll also be wrapping up editorial on the second book—Return of the Continuums. It comes out on in early November, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out. Beyond that, my books have been optioned by some great producers and we’re working hard to package them into a feature film. Currently, we’re looking for the perfect director to bring them to life on the big screen.
10. Is there anything that you would like to add?
Thanks so much for hosting me on my blog tour! It’s so exciting that my book is finally going out into the larger world and I get to talk about it.
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Jennifer Brody’s debut novel The 13th Continuum sold to Turner Publishing in a 3-book deal and is being packaged into a feature film. The book is the first in a trilogy and will come out in Spring 2016. She is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. She lives and writes in LA.
After studying film and graduating from Harvard University, she began her career in feature film development. Highlights include working for Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and New Line Cinema, most notably on The Lord of the Rings films and The Golden Compass. In 2008, she produced the feature film Make It Happen for The Weinstein Company. Her recipes and articles have appeared in xoJane, Fox News, Parade Magazine, Whole Life Times, and Meatless Monday, and many other publications.
She is an alumni of the Sirenland Writers Conference, where she studied with Meg Wolitzer, and the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, where she studied with Victor LaValle. She recently completed a 3-week residency at The Lemon Tree House and has been accepted for a residency in Spring 2016 at the Helen R. Whiteley Center, run by the University of Washington.
She founded and runs BookPod, a social media platform for authors with 400 members. She’s also a mentor for the Young Storytellers Foundation. In Spring 2015, her mentee’s script was picked out of over 900 scripts for the Glee Big Show, where it was performed by the cast of the hit Fox TV show, and in Fall of 2015, her mentee’s script was chosen for the Biggest Show, where it was performed by Jack Black and Leslie Mann.
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